Towednack Christmas Concert

   On Friday 18th December, Donna Birrell of Radio Cornwall chaired the concert at Towednack Parish Church. This is a well-loved venue for the choir, a regular port of call. The parking is never easy, especially with the sort of moorland mist and rain we had. The interior is cramped and a risk assessors nightmare for refreshments, although these are always excellent. However, the atmosphere and enjoyment of the occasion always surpasses any minor concerns. Bananarilla joined in the entertainment and a choir octet sang Harold Darke’s arrangement of ‘In the Bleak Mid-winter’ in four part harmony.


towednack Dec 2015   More photos on the gallery >


Friends of Stennack Surgery

    Our final week of concerts for 2015 brought an end to a very busy season. This is particularly so for William, our MD, who is also the MD for the FSMC Gospel choir and the Cornish Carol choir. Then, on Wednesday 16th December we produced a concert at FOSS (Friends of Stennack Surgery). There was a pleasing audience, who surpassed themselves when participating in The Twelve Days of Christmas.              Doctors and administrators recited poems between items by the choir. Father Andrew from St Ives CoE and MD, William, provided plenty of banter to amuse everyone throughout.

   A raffle prize draw was held at the conclusion. The organisers were very appreciative of the amount made from the event overall. Tasty refreshments and a cup of tea were provided in the surgery’s attic afterwards.

   More photos on the gallery >

Chacewater Concert

   On Saturday 12th December, the choir performed in the picturesque village of Chacewater. The church itself, with its Parisien style café area, provided a warm welcome. What a magnificent church it is, brightly lit for Christmas, and with a compellingly simple altar piece. It is a real gem on the outskirts of Truro.


   We performed a well balanced programme of carols, Cornish and otherwise, and popular Christmas songs. Although the congregation was small, it was animated and appreciative, with Rainbow Christmas very well received. A particularly enjoyable diversion was provided by the octet singing Harold Darke’s arrangement of ‘In the bleak mid-winter’; a wonderful blend of voices.


chacewater church

   During the interval, our hosts, Maggie and Terry Lister, lead us through to excellent fare on the refreshment tables. What better way to lubricate the vocal chords than wine and chocolate and coffee cake? And some of us managed all three as we socialised amongst a warm and welcoming group of locals.


   Although it is good to perform to full venues, a smaller audience can provide an intimate and special connection, and as I was waiting for a lift home, I was tapped on the shoulder by a member of the audience. “What a magnificent choir,” he said. “I’m going to follow you lot from now on.” No greater complement, surely – unless he’s a stalker!

Jenny Duda


Kidz r us Christmas Bazaar

   On the morning of Saturday 5th December the choir gathered outside the home of Kidz r us. Our task was to gather folks into the building for their Christmas bazaar. We happily sang well known carols and Christmas songs, although not many people were passing by. Later we made an appearance on the stage for more songs. Shoppers listened as they browsed amongst the stalls. This was a very relaxed appointment. Kidz R Us were certainly pleased to have us;


".. a massive thank you for taking part in this year's Kid r us Christmas bazaar. It was a great day. Shame about it being so quiet. However, we made £1000.00 for the charity, so thank you all so much."

Laura Trudgeon (trustee)

Carols at Hellesveor

   On Friday 27th November the choir continued a busy Christmas schedule with a concerts of Christmas songs and carols at Hellesveor Methodist Church on the outskirts of St Ives. The gallery shows a number of photos that reflect a varied and successful evening. Mr Edward Perkin led choir and congregation in singing Cornish carols written over a hundred years ago by St Ives men. MD, William Thomas, joined the tenor section who were a man down. Former blind organist of Hellesveor, Colan Williams, would have been proud to hear his carol, named after his church, still being sung. Later Edward accompanied his wife and choir member, Jane, who sang.




   Such an evening is only ever complete when William & Tricia fill the venue with the richness of their lovely voices.



"I am writing to say thank you to the Community Choir for the wonderful

concert that you gave us at Hellesveor Chapel on the 27th November.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it."


Linda Stevens (on behalf of Hellesveor Chapel)


2nd Annual Choir Dinner

   On the evening of Friday 20th November the choir gathered at the West Cornwall Golf Club to enjoy a three course meal. After the success of the event last year, this was well attended. Many partners, friends and family joined us to make it a special night. The choir were delighted to have their sponsors in attendance. They had paid for the newly purchased banner and the new keyboard stand. We are very grateful to them.


   After the dinner, MD, William Thomas, spoke about the progress and development we have undergone during the year. He noted that we again had a very busy schedule over the Christmas period. Key people were thanked for all they do. The photo is of the choir, all finely best dressed for the occasion. We scrub up very well. There are a couple more photos in the gallery.


MD Success at Camborne Music Festival

   Our esteemed and much loved musical director, William Thomas, has achieved considerable success in the recent 47th Camborne Music Festival held at Centenary Methodist Church between  9th - 14th November 2015. The festival is an annual competitive festival for amateur instrumentalists and vocalists of all ages and abilities.


William entered and won several categories:

  • Song from a show or musical
  • Unaccompanied folk song
  • Ladies or mens Victorian or Edwardian
  • Mens Open

   As a result of these outstanding performances William was awarded with two trophies:

  • The Michael Bosustow Memorial Award to the Best Male Singer and
  • The Tyacks (1926) Ltd Perpetual Trophy for the Best Performance  Festival.

These awards demonstrate the versatility and variety of William’s singing prowess. It is all the more remarkable that he also finds time to lead us and the FSMC Gospel Choir as well! He is reluctant to speak of his achievements. However, the choir is very happy to do just that. Well done, William!


Old Cornwall Society Festival

   The first concert of a very busy end to the year was given by the choir at the invitation of the Old Cornwall Society. We gave the final performance in a music festival at St Ives Guildhall on the afternoon of Saturday 7th November. Several volunteers joined us to swell the ranks, which was much appreciated.


   The ladies were resplendent in red and black, while the men complimented them with red ties. The short programme began with ‘Proper Job’, which was just that! Cornwall is renowned for its Cornish Carols, many of which were penned and scored by St Ives folk. Therefore, we were asked to song some of the well loved ones; Victory Carol, What Melody, Beautiful Child and Hellesveor; hence, the need for outside assistance. The Guildhall is never an easy place to sing. The stage soaks up so much of the sound. It is encouraging that many in the choir were rendering these traditional songs in a performance for the first time. If they are to continue to be sung to future generations, we need anyone and everyone who is willing to participate whenever the opportunity arises.


   The audience, delighted with what they had heard, now joined in with Hail to the Homeland, the first verse being sung in Cornish by those who are literate in our language. This was a perfect selection for the occasion, especially as we were only at the beginning of November. Finally, all voices sang Trelawny with great gusto, whereupon various thanks were given.




There are more photos in the gallery, once again courtesy of Bill Thomas.



   This video clip is of the choir singing Proper Job. Great solo from David, followed by audience participation. Thanks to Malcolm Gould for the video.





Here is the account of the event given by Mary Quick on behalf of St Ives Old Cornwall Society:



   "Then it was time to enjoy the St.Ives Community Choir led by William Thomas, a mixed choir that performs modern, traditional and sacred music for many charities, beginning with the popular ‘Proper Job’. After some well sung pieces, came a treat,  Christmas ‘curls’  by local composers, at one time sung around the streets by large chapel choirs. First came the Victory Carol, ‘Come strike the Chord’, composed by Joseph Tanner in 1918 to celebrate the end of World War One, then Beautiful Child of Bethlehem, and what is regarded as a St.Ives anthem, Hellesveor.  Composed in 1908 by Colan Williams, the carol is named after the village where ‘Cully’ was the chapel organist, in spite of being blinded in a mine accident. A great enthusiast, friend and assistant was the late Tommy Banfield, whose manuscripts of Hellesveor and other carols by Cully are works of art in themselves, and are now preserved in the Royal Cornwall museum. As is the custom, the audience stood while the carol was sung, with words presented on a screen.  



President Oates made a closing speech, thanking members for attending and the society for its hospitality, after which the banners retreated to the singing of ‘Hail to the Homeland’, the first verse sung in Cornish before being repeated in the original words. A rousing rendition of Trelawney concluded the Festival at five o’clock. Members of the committee are to be congratulated on a successful conclusion to many months of sometimes frustrating work, resulting in a memorable occasion enjoyed by all.


[NB: 'at one time sung around the streets by large chapel choirs'. This statement is somewhat inaccurate as the carol choir has continued to sing, especially on Christmas Eve around the townunabated to this day. In the 1960s the chapel choirs were not large, but had singers who were confident with their part within each carol. Forming a tight circle a good sound was made. In 1974 the chapel choirs combined to make one large choir.]

Tour to Torquay

  After eleven years the choir assembled on the morning of Friday 2nd October 2015 for its first tour. Destination: Devon, Trecarn Hotel, Babbacombe. After a delayed start, an early stop and heavy traffic at Temple (why did we go up the A30 passed Bodmin) and getting into Torquay, we arrived safely after almost six hours. Trip Advisor had given the group some fears of what might be in store. We need not have been anxious. The rooms, food, staff, bar, public areas and gardens were all fine. Yes, budget, but a proper job. Ere one forgets, I must extend a vote of sincere thanks to Donald & Maureen for all their research, planning and preparation on our behalf. Well done to them indeed!



After a delightful evening meal served buffet style, the choir met in the ballroom for a quiz, with a musical aspect. Just what one would anticipate. This was followed with a few songs from our repertoire. David Tremelling stood in as accompanist. Some great sight reading!

   Saturday was a free day. Folks could take the coach into Torquay. Others stayed around Babbacombe. The weather was just amazing.

   The main event soon came and we were off to Paignton Methodist for a charity concert. It was a large and traditional beautiful building, great acoustics as long as we were careful with diction. William & Tricia sang solos and duets to swell the programme and give a professional touch. A very pleasing audience were very pleased with everything they listened to. The choir enjoyed themselves and showed the growing confidence that comes from learning notes and words by heart. The Rotary Club of Paignton and The Joseph Foundation, whose main project is an independent living scheme for young people in the village of Giurcani in north eastern Romania who have spent their childhood in an orphanage. It is run by Eric & Rita Trotman, friends of William & Tricia. Over £600.00 was raised.


   After the concert the choir tucked into a sandwich and cake supper. No pasties here in Devon. Once all were fed we repaired to the coach, but the battery was flat! The AA were called (by us) and we were soon on our way. The rugby score (England v Australia World Cup) had been kept a secret for those wishing to view the highlights. These turned out to be low lights back at the hotel. It reinforced our gladness at giving a concert instead! A late night followed for many. It was time to relax. Job done.

   On Sunday the group were booked on a boat trip along the River Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth; time to relax and get to know more people in the choir. After time in the town of Dartmouth the choir returned to the hotel for their Gala Dinner. Attire for the evening was generally of the very smart variety. A great occasion with many laughs and more singing (of course).

   It was noted by several who spoke and probably many more who did not; being together for several days has done wonders for building relationships between members. What a fantastic success the whole trip was. The choir has pitched its tent further afield. Who knows where we may be invited in the future?


 More pictures in the gallery >

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Last Night of the Proms

  St Anta Church Carbis Bay was the venue for the annual extravaganza of music and refreshments. The date was Friday 18th September. Even with the prospect of the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup and England v Fiji to follow, there was a pleasing congregation, ready to join in. The £5.00 entrance was for the much needed painting of the interior of the church building. The choir gave a varied programme. This was interspersed with items on the organ by David Tremelling and Bananarilla, a cello playing duo of young ladies. During the Mama Mia medley MD, William Thomas, danced with a lady of Swedish origin.

   A glass of wine and a raffle held sway during the interval, before all voices strained to the usual and iconic national songs, British, English and Cornish. Much flag waving accompanied, led by the mischievous Steven Bassett entertaining a very large Cornish flag.

   Rev. Suzanne Hosking, Priest-in-charge, gave thanks to everyone for making it a special evening. For those prepared to wait a little longer to view the recorded rugby contest, there were tasty refreshments and a cup of tea to complete a thoroughly enjoyable occasion.


Boats in the Bay

  On Saturday 12th September the choir was asked to sing on the platt beside the lodge above the slipway. The occasion was the sailing of the Lugger fleet of Jumbo fishing boats. The aim of the association is to save and teach lug rig sailing skills on vessels historically only found in St Ives Cornwall. For more information check out The St Ives Jumbo Association. After the success of the choir's contribution at the naming ceremony for the latest vessel, Maia, boat builder Jonny Nance requested the choir create a musical backdrop for the Boats in the Bay celebration. A number of the choir were unavailable, but there were still enough to make a pleasant sound enjoyed by locals and tourists, the latter of which were plentiful.


                "the Community Choir lead by the same William Thomas drew a large appreciative audience
                outside the Shore Shelter."

Jonny Nance


More photos in the gallery

Newlyn Fish Festival Night of the Proms

    On Sunday 30th August the choir were invited to take part in the inaugural Newlyn Fish Festival proms concert. The venue was the impressive community centre opened in 2006, the Newlyn Trinity Centre. It is a part of the work of the Trinity Methodist Church. The acoustics for singing are excellent. An ambitious programme began at 8:00p.m. with the choir in good voice on a stage which allowed everyone to see the conductor and be seen by the encouraging audience.

   Our MD, William sang a couple of solos including ‘The Fishermen of England’, most appropriate for the occasion. However, it was the beautiful and incredible voice of Hannah Pascoe that ‘took the roof off’. You would have to pay a lot more than the £5.00 entry to hear such a voice as this.

   Janette Eathorne, the longest serving member of the Newlyn Fish Festival, recited one of her local story poems amidst being the MC. The audience fully participated in the second half with Cornish songs and the usual national songs, ‘Land of hope and glory’ and ‘Rule Britannia’.

   The evening was concluded with thanks all round, especially for accompanist Alison, who is able to adapt for any type of music. A pasty and cup of tea was very welcome before making for home. The choir were very well received and have already been asked to return next year.

For photos of the event go to the gallery >

Towednack Church Garden Party

   On Saturday 4th July the choir performed at the Towednack Church Garden Party at Churchtown Farm, just behind the church grounds. By all accounts the choir were very well received, playing their part in the raising of over £750.00 for church funds. Radio Cornwall presenter, Donna Birrell, was in attendance and praised the choir, saying she was very pleased to be able to hear them again.


   "I ask you, what could be nicer for a choir than singing outdoors in a delightful garden setting on a lovely,

      sunny, summer afternoon with a cream tea to follow? No contest!  The choir's contribution was much 

      appreciated and it was lovely to hear people joining in the songs and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere - 

      brilliant!  We enjoyed taking in the garden views and visiting the stalls,( particularly the home made

      cakes and jams!),and we all agreed it was just a super social occasion to be part of."

Lynne Brereton

Mr Hamilton's Lazy Days

   On Friday 26th & Saturday 27th June members of the choir performed in front of packed audiences. Their latest theatrical venture was written and directed by talented choir member Jenny Duda, also of Withpen Theatre. Mark Plummer and Hannah Jefferies of Withpen provided vital supporting roles as key members of the cast, along with Giles Newcombe, who accepted an impromptu invitation to join us.  The support team responsible for lighting, sound, video, photography, raffle sales, and refreshments were all fantastic. (Apologies for any I've missed).

   Proceeds from the play, which included Jenny's usual mix of mime and drama, were divided between the choir and the Sunrise Appeal. £800.00 was raised, with £500.00 going towards a machine specifically designed for radiotherapy.

   The play was a hotel farce set in the 1950's.  Rehearsals have been taking place at St John's in the Fields Church, thanks to Johanna Evans. Most of them were a mix of extreme concentration and commitment with incredible fun where ever possible. Both performances were a huge success, which had audiences in stitches much of the time.

   There are many images on the gallery page for you to enjoy. Thanks to the many choir members who supported the event in any way.


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 Launching the "Maia"

   On Saturday 30th May the choir had the delight of singing several Cornish songs for a special and historical event on The Old Slipway in St Ives; the blessing and launch of Scott's punt 'Maia' - built by Jonny Nance and now part of the St Ives Jumbo Association's fleet. The aim of the association is to save and teach lug rig sailing skills on vessels historically only found in St Ives Cornwall. These include: Carbon neutral fishing, racing and boat-building. MD William Thomas gave a brief message following a Bible reading, and then prayed for God’s protection over the new punt and those who sail in her. Her sister, Janette gave a knowledgeable talk about the history of this type of boat, unique to St Ives to a mix of locals and tourists, before naming her. This is the sixth boat in the fleet and she is smaller than the others, which makes her ideal for younger sailors to learn the skills required.


   Most of the choir were able to attend and sang to an enthusiastic audience who happily joined in with “Trelawney” and “Let the Lower Lights be Burning”, as the tide began to lap up the slipway. In keeping with tradition, saffron buns and pasties were distributed to all those involved. For a short video of the event by The St Ives Jumbo Association, click here, courtesy of Tony Mason. For more images go to the gallery.


launching the Maia

Salvation Army Concert at the St Ives Citadel

    On Saturday 9th May the choir joined forces with The Salvation Army SW Youth Band to share an evening of uplifting and entertaining music in aid the refurbishment of their hall.  It was wonderful to see a full brass band once again filling the hall with sound.  Some will remember the heady days of the 1960s and 1970s when it was normal to see crowds numbered in the 100s to sing well known, much loved hymns with the St Ives Salvation Army Band leading.


salvation army open air slipway st ives 1960s


   The choir and band alternated with their brand of music. This was the first indoor concert where we sang from memory for the majority of our songs.  The benefits of being able to look up and out helped choir and congregation to engage. There was a special applause after a medley from Mama Mia.  One of the songs played by the band brought back memories from attending the Christian Festival, Spring Harvest, many years ago.   Wonderful Grace can be heard in full on this link.

   Some excellent refreshments completed a very enjoyable occasion. For more photos see the gallery.


salvation army concert
May Day Celebrations

   This is the first time the choir has been invited to be involved in the St Ives town's May Day celebrations. On Bank Holiday Monday 4th May, outside The Guildhall, we performed a number of songs with a distinct Cornish flavour after the choosing of the May Day Queen & King. Songs included, Brenda Wooton's, "There's something about a pasty", "Proper Job", "Maggie May" and naturally, "Trelawny".  Reports indicate that we drew a substantial crowd and created an excellent atmosphere leading up to the children dancing around the maypole.

   For a little taste of the event, check out the St Ives Tourist Board video.

may day

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Choir member completes Virgin London Marathon

   On Sunday 26th April, choir member and web-master, Alan Thomas, proudly crossed the finish line of the Virgin London Marathon in 4:13:08.  Alan gained his place through the Silver Bond scheme.  Single places are offered to smaller charities every few years. Alan and his wife, Lesley, also a choir member, have run Sporting Chance International for over 16 years. It works amongst the poor and needy in Kenya through distribution of redundant kit for sports, sports competitions and building a nursery school. Alan hopes to raise over £500.00 all of which will be sent directly to Kenya.

            "I always hoped to do the VLM one day and years ago said that I would get around to it when

            I reached 60.  Out of the blue a Silver Bond place was offered just before that milestone

            birthday.  In spite of a lot of setbacks, all went well on the day AND the youth of Kenya

            will also benefit."




First Engagement of the New Year

    The first concert of the year was performed at The Annual Dinner of the St Ives Inner Wheel group at the West Cornwall Golf Club on Friday 23rd January.  We were invited to entertain before the audience settled down for their meal.  Since we had used this venue for our own 10th anniversary celebration last November, we were very aware of the excellent food they would soon be enjoying.  We were content with our role and the excellent coffee served after our performance, given to an enthusiastic audience.  Choir MD, William, is keen for us to sing without music wherever possible.  This means that choir members can watch him at all times.  He was pleased with the better timing and whole-hearted involvement which produced an improved sound.

                              "What a wonderful treat it was to have you singing for us on Friday!

                              Thank you for making such an enjoyable contribution to our special

                              evening.  With best wishes from myself and all our members."

President of the St Ives Inner Wheel


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